I will now try to focus and write a substantial post.
Overall things have been progressing nicely. I normally start each ride with some ground work and free lunging. We have been working on bending, stretching, and transitions lately.
I will focus on the latest and worst ride which happened just Thursday. The stable where I board normally has lessons Monday and Wednesday nights, which I try to avoid. He isn't at the place where I feel totally confident riding him in an arena with small children. So while grooming him Thursday a "lessoner" walks in to barn. And I think "oh great". So I scurry away into the arena in hopes of getting some work done while the lesson grooms and tacks.
So I lunge for a little bit. His mind generally seems in a good place and he seems responsive. The weather is a bit questionable. It is getting kind of windy as a storm system moves in, but considering he was behaving. So I jump on real quick in hopes of gaging where he is before the lesson walks in. I am just riding bareback.
He is being a little resistive to the bit, a little stiff and bracing. So we work on flexing and moving off my leg/seat. I feel we are making some progress. Then the lesson walks in and Tungsten immediately starts acting stupid. This is a classic case of rider "oh no someone is watching and my horse is going to embarrass me" syndrome. As well as Tungsten is hardly ever worked in the arena with another horse. Most horses at this stable are ornaments. And 99% of the time I am the only one down there riding. He just does not have the experience of working when another horse is around and he can't wrap his head around it.
So most annoying thing he would do is take the rein. He would just totally run through my outside rein to try to get near the other horse. So I kept saying to myself "RIDE the horse, don't let him ride you!" So I got him in a nice forward walk where he couldn't so easily ignore my aids. We were making progress again when a strong gust of wind hit the barn door with perfect timing. Tungsten spooked. Not a terrible spook, more of a tense jump a step forward spook, but it was enough to set the other horse off a bit. So now I am officially interfering with this other lesson and feel bad.
So next little figure eights. I was harping on him a bit too much. Too much leg, too much seat, trying to get control but really just making him tense. So we go through this little dance for the next twenty minutes or so until the lesson leaves because the little girl was "too tired to do much today". Really she was probably terrified my horse would get her, smh.
He was very annoying as they were leaving the arena. So I forced him into a big boy, working walk. I walked him around a bit more to try to settle him down and end on a good note.
So I take the hit for this bad ride. He was not ready for all this stimulus. I should have done some ground work and called it a day, but I am a terrible schedule follower and couldn't drop my plans.
I at least saved my butt a little. We ended with some more lunging and ground work before we called it a day. I didn't want him to end his arena work tense and stressed. So overall, yes we worked through some issues, but I pushed him a bit too much this day.
There is some recovery though. Today I had a lesson with my "old mare". I leased her from the time this stable bought her and did her training. I wanted to work with a horse I had trained who understood the bit and I could feel like I did some work done. It was nice getting back into some serious dressage. This mare is so lovely and light off my seat, it was a dream. It helps me to see where I have gotten her and see Tungsten there in a year or so. Now I am fueled to get back to work with Tungsten now that I have polished up my "feel" with the mare.
And finally a cute picture from some ground training. This is about 30 minutes after being introduced to the tarp, which he was terrified of at first. But, don't worry, the fun thing with babies, when I get it out again he will act like he's never seen it before!